Charters and Documents Relating To the City of Glasgow 1175-1649 Part 1. Originally published by Scottish Burgh Records Society, Glasgow, 1897.
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On 20th January, 1569–70, the regent Murray was shot at Linlithgow by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, (fn. 1) and Scotland was plunged afresh into all the miseries of a conflict between two factions—the one supporting the cause of the imprisoned queen, the other that of the party who represented the young king. Had these factions been left to themselves, there can be little doubt that the party of the queen would have triumphed. It embraced the highest and oldest nobility of the country. The duke of Chatelherault, the earls of Argyle, Huntly, Athole, and others were its leaders. But the king's party, headed by the earls of Morton, Lennox, and Mar, had the strenuous support of the kirk, and they were able also to appeal with effect to Elizabeth, whose policy it was to work each of the two parties against the other, and to prevent France and Spain—which, as catholic countries, favoured the cause of the queen—from obtaining dominant influence in Scotland. Supported by her troops, which worked terrible devastation in the southern districts of Scotland, the regent succeeded in raising the siege of the castle of Glasgow, which had been invested by the supporters of the queen's cause, (fn. 2) and Lanarkshire and Linlithgowshire were afterwards ravaged. On 16th June, 1570, the earl of Lennox was appointed lieutenant-governor of the kingdom till 12th July, and on that day he was formally elected regent. On 2nd April, 1571, the capture by Captain Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill (fn. 4) of the castle of Dunbarton, the siege of which had for some time previously been suspended, gave a severe shock to the cause of the queen. On 8th April, a deed of gift, subscribed by the regent, authorised the magistrates of the city to take up, during the king's will, three half-pennies Scots of every horse-load of herrings or other fishes transported from the bridge, and a like sum of every barrel-weight taken from or brought to it. On 4th September the regent was slain. He had gone to Stirling on the previous day to attend a meeting of the estates, and was there surprised by a party of the queen's supporters and wounded to the death. On the following day the earl of Mar, governor of the young king, was elected regent; (fn. 6) and his appointment was ratified by parliament on 28th August in the same year. (fn. 7)
During the regency of the earl of Mar the temporality of the archbishopric of Glasgow was held by John Porterfield, in conjunction with the cure of the parish of Kilmaronock, of which he had previously been minister. The archbishopric was conferred on him, according to Keith, (fn. 8) to enable him to convey away the benefice with some appearance of law. (fn. 9) On 20th October, 1571, he consented to a conveyance by Mr. Archibald Douglas, rector of the church of Glasgow, to Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill and his wife of the parsonage house and garden in the city, and that conveyance was confirmed by the king on 21st May, 1572. (fn. 10) The license for his election was only issued on 8th February, 1571–2, and he held the archbishopric till after the convention in Leith, in 1572, when it was conferred on James Boyd, a kinsman of lord Boyd. (fn. 11) During the same regency, also, the privy council passed several acts affecting Glasgow. Mr. David Wemyss, presented a supplication setting forth that he had served in the ministry of the city for ten years, "in some trouble, and without certainty of his stipend," and he desired to know whether he had to seek it in future from the parsonage of Glasgow, the fruits of which were being intromitted with by Mr. Archibald Douglas, or from what other quarter. The result of this application was that on 23rd January, 1571–2, Douglas was required to pay to Wemyss, so long as he continued minister of the city, and to his successors in the charge, £200 a year, commencing the first payment at Whitsunday following. (fn. 12) On 6th June, 1572, the privy council appointed a muster to be held at Glasgow, on the 26th of the same month, to resist the traitors about the city and in the country of the Lennox; on the 20th, commission was granted to James, earl of Morton, as the king's lieutenant, to pursue and punish these traitors; and on the 27th proclamation was ordered to be made to the army there assembled requiring them to keep good and honest society with each other for the furtherance of the king's service, prohibiting "foraying" or taking the goods of others, though rebels, and commanding the citizens to follow the army with bread, ale, and all other kinds of food for men and horses, which would be bought and paid for with ready money. (fn. 13) Four months later the regency again became vacant. The earl of Mar was struck down with mortal illness, and died in the castle of Stirling on 28th October, 1572. (fn. 14) On the 23rd of the following month the earl of Morton was appointed regent, and was publicly proclaimed on the following day (fn. 15)—and on the same day also John Knox died.
Till this time no change in the polity of the church had been recognised by parliament. What the first Book of Discipline professed to give was simply a system of ecclesiastical doctrine. The old spiritual estate still existed; bishops, abbots, and priors formed one of the estates of the realm; and the only secular difference effected by the reformation of 1560 was the substitution of protestants—and these frequently laymen—for the dignitaries of the old church. The regent Murray had been made prior of St. Andrews, and had been succeeded by Kirkcaldy of Grange. After the execution of archbishop Hamilton, the earl of Morton had obtained possession of the revenues of the see of St. Andrews, while, to give some appearance of legality to the transaction, the titular archbishopric was conferred on Mr. John Douglas, rector of the university of St. Andrews, and provost of St. Mary's college there. (fn. 16) The earl of Glencairn, too, had sought a grant of the archbishopric of Glasgow, and, on being refused it, had angrily declined to take part in the parliament of October, 1570. But the substitution of protestant laymen for the bishops and abbots of the old faith, as they died out, could hardly be defended, and besides it became necessary that the feuars and heritable tenants of such church lands as had acquired their possession from deceased ecclesiastics should obtain re-investiture. It was, accordingly, enacted by the parliament which met in Stirling in August, 1571, that all lands and possessions held of priors or prioresses of convents, the superiors of which had died, should in future be held of the crown for payment of the same duties and rents as were previously paid to the ecclesiastical superiors. (fn. 17) Farther arrangements were, however, necessary in order to secure the minimum of alteration on the old system, and an effort to adjust matters on that basis was made at a convention of the church held at Leith on 12th January, 1572. It does not appear by whom this convention was summoned, but the facility with which a scheme was devised and adopted seems to indicate that the regent Mar knew and approved of what was to be recommended. At all events, the convention met with a committee of the privy council, and a concordat was speedily adjusted. That document provided for the maintenance of the titles of archbishop and bishop and the existing boundaries of dioceses; the annexation to every metropolitan and cathedral seat of an assembly or chapter of ministers; the limitation, till otherwise agreed upon, of the jurisdiction of archbishops and bishops in spiritual matters to that exercised by superintendents; the subjection of archbishops and bishops to the kirk in spiritualibus and to the king in temporalibus; the appointment of prelates by a congé d' élire; the maintenance of the dignitaries of the Regulars so as to supply the place of the ecclesiastical estate in parliament; the qualifications of persons appointed to ecclesiastical dignities, and their residence within their charges, &c. This concordat was immediately approved of by the regent, and, without waiting for the sanction of the general assembly, Douglas was appointed to the archbishopric of St. Andrews; James Boyd of Trochrig to the archbishopric of Glasgow; (fn. 18) while the sees of Dunkeld, Dunblane, and Moray were similarly filled. There is reason to believe, however, that though the various bishoprics were thus occupied by men who received the episcopal title, the revenues of the several sees mainly passed into the hands of the influential patrons. Under this belief, Adamson—then minister of Paisley, but who afterwards received the archbishopric of St. Andrews from the regent Morton observed that there were three kinds of bishops: " My lord bishop, my lord's bishop, and the Lord's bishop. My lord bishop was in the papistry; my lord's bishop is now where my lord gets the fat of the benefice, and the bishop makes his title sure. The Lord's bishop is the true minister of the gospel." The bishops thus appointed were popularly known as " tulchan bishops," denoting, in the rough humour of the time, the fact that they were no better than stuffed calves set up to make the benefice yield its revenues to its lord. The arrangements set forth in the concordat were submitted to the general assembly which met at Perth on 6th March, 1572, and were approved of, subject to a declaration that the use in the document of such names as archbishop, bishop, dean, chancellor, and chapter was not intended to ratify or agree to any kind of papistry or superstition, and also that the articles of the concordat were only to be received until further and more perfect order was obtained. (fn. 19)
It has been seen that in March, 1566–7, queen Mary conveyed to the magistrates and community the property of the various chantries, altarages, and prebends of all churches, chapels, or colleges in Glasgow, and also of the Dominican and Franciscan friars within the city. (fn. 20) But the subjects of this grant were, on 8th January, 1572–3, made over by Sir John Stewart of Mynto, provost, Mr. Adam Wallace, Archibald Lyon, and George Elphinston, bailies, and the councillors to the pedagogy or college for the maintenance of a prefect or provost (prepositus) of the college—being also a professor of theology —two regents and teachers of philosophy, and twelve poor scholars, (fn. 21) and this conveyance was ratified by parliament on 26th January, 1572–3, (fn. 22) and on 29th July, 1587. (fn. 23)
Through the influence of Robert, lord Boyd of Kilmarnock, (fn. 24), James Boyd, his relative, was made archbishop of Glasgow in September, 1573, and when the earliest extant records of the city commence, on 19th January, 1573–4, lord Boyd appears as provost. The appointment of the provost of the city belonged to the archbishop, who had also the right, as has been seen, to select from a leet proposed annually by the town council two persons to fill the office of bailie. The bailieship of the regality was held at the time by Sir John Stewart of Mynto, under a commission granted to him and his heirs by Mathew, earl of Lennox, whose family claimed to have possessed the office from time immemorial, but whose duties as regent of the kingdom made it impossible for him to exercise the bailieship personally. Lord Boyd, however, desired to have the office himself, and his relative, the archbishop, superseding Sir John Stewart, appointed him to it in November, 1573. (fn. 25) An act of the privy council on the 9th of the same month refers to the fact that the castle of Glasgow had been committed by the regent Murray in May, 1568, to the keeping of Sir John Stewart of Mynto, before archbishop Dunbar was denounced rebel, and that it had since that time been held by him, but states that he had been charged by the king's letters to deliver it over to archbishop Boyd, which he was willing to do. Before giving up possession, however, he craved that he should receive from the privy council a discharge of his actings as keeper. This was accordingly given. (fn. 26) The administration of both the barony and the city being thus in the hands of lord Boyd and the archbishop, they lost no time in making this combination of offices productive. On 2nd January, 1573–4, the archbishop, with the consent of the dean and canons of Glasgow, granted a charter whereby, in consideration of the great expenses and labours in fortifying the privileges of the regality, as well as for the thorough administration of justice (which had for many years been in abeyance), he conferred on lord Boyd the office of hereditary bailie and justiciary of the regality and barony of Glasgow, as well within as without the burgh and city; and granted to him £40 a year of the rents of the lands of Badley, Mollence, Gartaforrowie, Mukcrawis, Gartynquene, Gartynquenemure, Johnestoune, Crystoun, Auchingeich, Gartinkirk, Auchinlocht, Robrestoun, and Davidstoune, all within the barony, and the amercements and escheats of courts—to be held by lord Boyd and the heirs male of his body, whom failing his heirs male of the name of Boyd carrying the arms of the house of Kilmarnock, all of whom were bound to render to the archbishop the services due in respect of the office, and to defend the archbishopric in all its lawful concerns. This charter was confirmed by king James at Holyrood on 28th March, 1575. (fn. 27) On 12th February, 1573–4, the privy council declared archbishop Beaton, the bishops of Ross, Dunblane, and a number of other persons to be traitors, and prohibited the lieges from holding any communication with them. (fn. 28) Another act of the privy council, dated 20th March, 1573–4, states that Sir John Stewart of Mynto had presented a supplication to the general assembly, which had been remitted to the regent and the persons appointed to treat of the affairs of the kirk. That supplication referred to the service which Stewart had rendered to the cause of religion and the royal authority, and to the sufferings and loss which he had sustained in consequence; it stated that while in charge of the castle and steeple of Glasgow, which was "ane of the principal keyes of the cuntre," he had been compelled, not only to spend his own means and to obtain the assistance of his friends, but also to take up a great part of the third of the bishopric for the year 1569, to keep and furnish the castle and steeple, and to " set forward other common affairs;" that his doing so had been approved by Mr. Andrew Hay, commissioner, and Mr. David Wemyss, minister of Glasgow, both of whom thought it more convenient that the third should be uplifted "and so applied than be used by enemies to maintain the adverse cause." Nevertheless Sir John, and the tenants and others, from whom the third of that year had been uplifted, had been charged to make payment again thereof. He therefore craved to be relieved of the third so intromitted with by him. The regent and lords of council, in consideration of the circumstances, discharged Sir John of the third and of all proceedings relating to it. (fn. 29)
The first entry in the existing minutes of the council of the election of the provost occurs on 5th October, 1574. It records the archbishop's nomination, by a letter, in which, setting forth "the habilitie and qualificatioun of ane noble lord, Robert lord Boyd, bailie of our barone of Glasgu, in ministratioun of justice wrychtlie to all persounes, and that the office of prouestre of the burcht and cietie of Glasgu has nevir or seyndill bene separatit in sindry persounes handis fra the baillierie of oure baronie foirsaid, and for sindry considerationes moving us," he nominated and presented lord Boyd to be provest "for this instant yeir to cum, and siclyk yeirlie in all tymes cumyng heireftir following, incaise it plese him to accept the samyn on him, during all the dayis of our lyftime," and desired "the baillies, counsale, and communite, present and to cum, to geve, seill, and to deliuer to him thair commissione of the said office of provestrie, conform to use and wont, for this instant yeir, an_ siclik yeirlie at Michaelmas in tymes cumyng duryng oure lyfetyme, gif he will accept the samyn as said is." In compliance wi_h this nomination and request, the bailies and council ordered a commission in favour of lord Boyd as provost to be prepared and sealed; and on the same day leets of eight persons, proposed by the provost, bailies, and council, for election as bailies, were submitted to the archbishop, who from that leet selected three, who were duly elected. (fn. 30) On 4th October in the immediately following year, lord Boyd, "be vertue of my lord archbishopis of Glasgwis nominatioun registrat in thir buikis the last yeir," accepted the provostship, and his commission was ordained to be given him for the ensuing year. A leet of eight persons, to be submitted to the archbishop for the bailieship, was prepared on the same day, and submitted to him on the following day, and from that leet he selected three, who were duly appointed. (fn. 31)
Reference has been made to disputes between Glasgow and Rutherglen in 1226, (fn. 32) in 1449–50, (fn. 33) and in 1542; (fn. 34) but another question between them was made the subject of judicial proceedings in 1575. In that year the magistrates of Rutherglen complained to the lords of council and session against an attempt on the part of Glasgow to exact from their burgesses (1) a tax of three half-pence on each load of corn brought by them to or from the city, and (2) a ladleful out of each load of corn brought by their burgesses into the city—such ladleful being nearly equivalent to the fourth of a peck. The procurator for the city expressed the willingness of its magistrates to desist from levying the first impost, but insisted on their right to levy the second; and the court, on 4th June, 1575, sustained that right, holding that the community of the city were infeft in free burgh, and by virtue of such infeftment had been in the practice, from time immemorial, of taking a ladleful from each sack of all corn and victual coming to the market of the burgh, "for sowping and clangeing of thair calsay, like as vtheris burrowis. within this realme ar and hes bene in siklyke possessioune of vptaking of siclyke dewtie fer the samin caus." (fn. 35)
An interesting rental of the old foundation of the college of Glasgow for the year 1575 is given in the "Munimenta Alme Universitatis Glasguensis," (fn. 36) which also contains a decree of the lords of council, dated 3rd June, 1575, in favour of the college against the tenants and occupiers of the lands, rents, &c., granted to the college by the magistrates and councillors of the city. (fn. 37)
On 1st April, 1576, and again on 27th July, 1578, and 6th February, 1578–9, the community of the city obtained from the king and the regent Morton letters under the signet relieving them from attendance at assizes or inquests in actions before the king's justice, sheriffs, stewards, or other judges within the realm, except in actions and crimes committed within or three miles outside of the city, notwithstanding any law or practice to the contrary. (fn. 38)
On 2nd October, 1576, lord Boyd was appointed provost for the following year, in accordance with the archbishop's nomination, recorded in the council minutes of 5th October, 1574. On the same day also, a leet of six persons was submitted to the archbishop from which to select two to be bailies, but inasmuch as that document did not contain the names of eight persons, including the old bailies, he delayed intimating his decision till the following day, in order that he might consider the decree given by the privy council at the last bishop's instance against the town in regard to the election of bailies. On the following day, accordingly, he refused to choose any two of the six so leeted, but desired that the old bailies should be continued for the following year. On behalf of the town, however, it was answered that the decree did not require any special number of persons, or the old bailies, to be included in the leet, but only certain leets of the old council, and that, therefore, the leet submitted complied with the requirements of the decree. The archbishop, however, adhered to his objection; and as the commission in favour of the old bailies had expired and the town needed to have bailies to administer justice, protestation was made on its behalf that the provost, bailies, and old council might elect two of the six persons leeted. This protestation having been reported to the council, they elected two of the persons named in the leet to be bailies for the following year, and they were duly sworn into office on 4th October. (fn. 39)
On 13th July, 1577, the king and the regent granted a charter by which they conveyed to the college or pedagogy of Glasgow the rectory and vicarage of the parish church of Govan, and of new confirmed all lands, houses, and revenues granted to it in time past to be applied in the manner set forth in the king's New Erection and Foundation of the College therein detailed for the maintenance of a principal, three regents, a steward, four poor students, the principal's servant, a cook, and a janitor. Under the constitution provided by the charter, the principal was required to reside in the college, and, in addition to the duties imposed upon him with relation to it, had to preach once every Sunday in Govan, and keep the people there "in right discipline of life and manners." The patronage of the principalship was declared to belong to the crown, and had to be exercised within thirty days after intimation of a vacancy; but if the requisite presentation was not so made, then the examination and election of a principal were appointed to be made by the archbishop of Glasgow, chancellor of the university, the rector and dean of faculty of the university, the ministers of the churches of Glasgow, Hamilton, Cadder, Monkland, and Renfrew, and such other grave and learned men as the king and his successors should procure to be present; and these elections were appointed to be made "neither for favour nor influence of party, but for worth and superiority in learning." For his services as principal he was appointed to receive two hundred merks yearly out of the revenues of the college, and for serving the church of Govan three chalders of corn. Two of the regents were to receive a salary each of fifty merks out of the college revenues before the new erection, and the third a salary of fifty pounds Scots out of the same revenues. The election, presentation, and admission of the regents were vested in the rector, the dean of faculty, and the principal; but the power of correcting, reproving, and, if necessary, expelling them from the college, was vested in the principal, after examination of the cause and deliberation had by the rector and dean of faculty. The four poor students, called bursars, who were added to the college by the new erection, were appointed to be provided out of the common fruits of the church of Govan, and to be added on the ground of poverty—"being persons whom their friends, being needy, cannot maintain, and who are gifted with excellent parts and knowledge in the faculty of grammar." The presentation of these bursars was vested in the earl of Morton and his heirs, and their admission and collation in the principal, who was enjoined "to take heed that rich men are not admitted instead of poor, nor drones" [allowed to] "feed upon the hive," but that those received into the college were such as might "prove an ornament to their country and useful to the church". (fn. 40)
It has been seen that in 1489–90 bishop Blacader obtained from king James IV. a right to establish a free tron in the city, and to appoint a troner of the customs and clerk of the coquet. (fn. 41) On 6th September, 1577, archbishop Boyd granted a lease by which, in consideration of a yearly rent of £50 Scots, he empowered Mathew Boyd to uplift for nineteen years the customs of the tron weights of the firlots, pecks, and other bishops' customs of all boats repairing by water to Glasgow, and all weights and customs of the town exigible in respect of customable goods. (fn. 42)
At the time for electing the provost of the city for the year 1577–8, the intimate relations which existed between the archbishop and lord Boyd were further manifested. Hitherto, as has been seen, the latter had been appointed provost on the annual nomination of the archbishop; but on 1st October, 1577, he presented to the bailies and council a writing, dated 6th September, 1577, in which the archbishop set forth that lord Boyd had demitted the provostship for a year, whereby, the document proceeds, "we may nominat sic ane persoun as we think best at this nixt Michaelmas court, and siclike in tyme cuming yeirlie to be provest of the said cietie, provyding alwayis that we sall nominat na prouest this yeir nor in ony tyme cuming by [without] the said lordis avyse and consent during all the dayis of his lyftyme, nor yit sall retene ony prouest that salbe nominat be us to the said cietie langer nor ane yeir, bot sall change the prouest at the yeris end at the desire and plesour of the said lorde, and gif we wald do the contrar (as God forbid we suld), we, be the tenour heirof, ordanis and commandis the baillies and counsall of the said cietie that thai pas nor gif na commissioun to na persoun nor personis to the office of prouestrie of the said cietie by [without] the consent and aduise of the said lorde haid thairto, and als we, be the tenour heirof, grantis and consentis that it salbe lesum to the said lorde to enter to the said office of prouestrie of Glasgw agane quhenevir it plesis him at the tyme of Michaelmas quhen baillies and prouestis ar electit, siclyke and als freelie as he had nevir demittit the samyn in our handis, and that the commissioun be grantit him quhen his lordschip pleissis to accept the sam, and als we consent and command that this our writting be registrat in the court buikis of our cietie of Glasgw, and remain as oure sufficient warrand to the said lorde, and siclyk to the baillies and counsale of the said cietie present and to cum during all the dayis of the said lordis lyftyme, but [without] ony reuocatioun or agane calling." On the same day, accordingly, a writing by the archbishop was presented to the council, nominating Thomas Crawfurd of Jordanhill (who was one of the witnesses to the archbishop's signature to the document of 6th September) to be provost for the following year. The council accepted it, and appointed Crawfurd accordingly, and the archbishop afterwards selected two persons to be bailies out of a leet of six submitted to him. (fn. 43)
Notwithstanding the miseries occasioned by the civil wars during the regencies of Murray, Lennox, and Mar, the prosperity of the country had made remarkable progress; commerce and trade had increased; and while the power of the feudal lords had declined, the middle class had risen in importance. The resolute administration of the regent Morton still further secured peace and order, but his policy of self-aggrandisement made him personally unpopular. His open appropriation of the property of the church and disregard of the claims of the presbyterian clergy gave them serious offence, while the arbitrary manner in which he dealt with the artisans, merchants, and burgesses excited their discontent. Under these circumstances the opposition to the mongrel episcopacy, which he favoured, assumed an aggressive form, and found a powerful leader in Andrew Melville, who had returned to Scotland from Geneva in the summer of 1574. (fn. 44) The regent had also made himself personally obnoxious to the earls of Argyle, Athole, and others, and they, in alliance with Alexander Erskine, the governor of the king, obtained an interview with James on 4th March, 1577–8, and urged him, though he was not then twelve years of age, to take the government upon himself. The regent was unaware of this interview at the time, but wrote the king denouncing Argyle and his party, and urging that exemplary punishment should be inflicted on them for their hostility to the regency, or, otherwise, that he should be relieved of that office. The king accepted the latter alternative, and ordered proclamation to be forthwith made of his assumption of the government. (fn. 45) At the same time a council of twelve—all hostile to Morton—was appointed to advise the king. Under these circumstances a general assembly was held in April, 1578, under the moderatorship of Melville, and it not only determined to revise the book of church polity, but denounced the corruption in the state of bishops, and resolved that no see should be filled up till the next general assembly. (fn. 46) By dexterous management, however, Morton succeeded within three months in getting possession of the king's person, and, though not re-established as regent, was on 12th June invested with all the powers of first minister of the crown. The party of Argyle immediately prepared to rescue the king from the control of Morton, and civil war was imminent, when, through the mediation of the English ambassador, an accommodation was effected. But it left Morton in the position of prime minister. (fn. 47)
On 10th January, 1578–9, the archbishop's castle or fortalice of Lochwood was destroyed by a party employed, it is said, by Robert Boyd of Badinheath. The archbishop, accordingly, complained to the privy council, who, after hearing parties on 23rd February, continued the case till 14th March, but ordered Robert Boyd to cease from further destruction, and the archbishop to cease from molesting him and his accomplices for what they had already done. (fn. 48) The outrage of which the archbishop thus complained may have been occasioned, as has been suggested, by the refusal of the archbishop to submit himself to the kirk, as required by the assembly in 1578, (fn. 49) "for reformation of the corruption of the estate of a bishop in his person," or to the cause mentioned by Calderwood, who states that in a year or two after the archbishop's appointment lord Boyd found him not sufficiently pliable, and in consequence caused his son, the master of Boyd, to seize the castle in which the archbishop resided, and to levy the revenues of the see. (fn. 50) No further reference is made to these proceedings in the register of the privy council.
On the death of the regent Mathew, earl of Lennox, in September, 1571, he was succeeded by his second son, Charles, who, on 18th April, 1572, obtained charters from the crown conveying to him and his heirs male the earldom of Lennox, and various other lands which had devolved on king James, as the only son of lord Darnley, the eldest son of earl Mathew. Earl Charles died, however, in 1576, leaving an only child, lady Arabella Stewart, and was succeeded by Robert Stewart, younger brother of earl Mathew, the regent. Robert was created earl of Lennox by royal charter, dated 16th June, 1578, which conveyed to him and his heirs male the earldom of Lennox, the barony of Tarbolton, and other lands in the shires of Renfrew, Ayr, Dunbarton, and Stirling, with the office of sheriff of Dunbarton and other rights which were of old incorporated with the earldom. (fn. 51) Robert was at first provost of the collegiate church of Dunbarton, afterwards bishop of Caithness, and subsequently obtained from the crown a grant of the priory of St. Andrews. Before the earldom was conferred on Robert Stewart, proceedings were instituted on behalf of the king, as heir of his grandfather, earl Mathew, to have his right to the bailieship of the regality declared and lord Boyd dispossessed. In these proceedings it was averred that the bailieship had been immemorially enjoyed by earl Mathew and his predecessors, and that Sir John Stewart of Minto and his heirs had been appointed to exercise it by reason of the earl's inability, as regent of the kingdom, to perform the duties himself; nevertheless, lord Boyd had, during the late troubles, intruded himself into it. In this suit lord Boyd appeared, and, after parties had been heard and the whole matter ripely advised, the privy council, on 14th May, 1578, ordained the king, as earl of Lennox, to be repossessed in the bailieship, to be enjoyed and used by him and others in his name till he had been "lawfully called and orderly put thairfra be the law." (fn. 52) On 30th September following, Robert, earl of Lennox, was made burgess and freeman of the city, and on the same day produced to the town council a letter of nomination by the archbishop, who was also present, in favour of the earl as provost. This was confirmed by the archbishop verbally, and the council thereupon elected the earl to be provost for the ensuing year, notwithstanding a protest by Crawford, the former provost, "that the auld libertie and priuilege of the toun be observit and keepit." Leets for the bailies were afterwards made up and presented to the archbishop, who selected three, and these were elected. The newly elected provost and bailies received their commissions and took the requisite oaths on the following day, when the council for the following year was appointed, and at the same time Crawford protested that he had been put out of the council without "ony falt, and uncallit thairfore," and that the naming and choosing of the council without his or the old bailies' consent "prejuge nocht his rycht, and that the libertie of the toun be nocht hurt thairby." (fn. 53) On 6th October, 1579, earl Robert was again elected provost on the nomination of the archbishop, who also selected two persons to be bailies from a leet of eight. (fn. 54)
The power which the earl of Morton still possessed as chief minister of the crown was mercilessly employed by him in prosecuting and proscribing the Hamiltons. (fn. 55) On 30th April, 1579, the estates of the family were ordered by the privy council to be seized, and their persons apprehended; (fn. 56) and before the 22nd of May the two sons of the duke of Chatelherault, lord John Hamilton, commendator of Arbroath, and lord Claud Hamilton, commendator of Paisley, had fled the country—lord John to Flanders, and lord Claud to England—their castles had been taken, their adherents crushed, and the power of the family effectively broken for the time. The eldest son, the insane earl of Arran, was incarcerated along with his mother, the duchess of Chatelherault. (fn. 57)
On 26th May, 1579, the king, by a letter under the great seal, took the whole members and supposts of the college, with their lands, tenements, and other goods under his firm peace and protection, and confirmed the exemption of the university from taxation, and from watch and ward. (fn. 58) On 6th October, 1580, a seal of cause was granted by the town council to the fleshers; the council minutes bearing that it was then sealed with the common seal. (fn. 59) But the document has been lost.
In 1580, Robert, earl of Lennox, was induced to accept the earldom of March and lordship of Dunbar, in lieu of the earldom of Lennox, which the king desired to confer on Esme Stewart, lord of Aubigny, his cousin, and nephew of earl Robert. Earl Robert was accordingly, by charter dated 25th October, 1582, created earl of March, and he retained that title till his death, without issue, on 29th March, 1586. (fn. 60) The younger brother of Robert, earl of March, was John Stewart, lord of Aubigny, captain of the Scottish gens d'armes in France, governor of Avignon, and father of Esme Stewart, above referred to. This Esme the king invited to Scotland, and he arrived at Leith on 8th September, 1579, at which time he must have been upwards of thirty years of age. (fn. 61) Trained at the French court, he possessed external graces which immediately captivated the young king, who appointed him great chamberlain of Scotland —an office which he held till his death in 1583 (fn. 62); and on 14th November, 1579, granted him the rich abbacy of Arbroath, then held by the crown through the forfeiture of lord John Hamilton. (fn. 63) The earldom of Lennox was at this time held, as has been stated, by Robert Stewart; but on 12th January, 1579–80, Dame Elizabeth Stewart, countess of Lennox, for herself and on behalf of Robert, earl of Lennox, her husband, delivered over to Esme, lord Aubigny, at Holyrood, a large number of documents relating to the property of the Lennox earldom. The receipt of these was acknowledged by Aubigny, and on 13th February following the king himself granted to the earl and countess his formal discharge for the documents so handed over. The inventory receipt and discharge were thereafter recorded in the register of the privy council. (fn. 64) The transfer of these documents was, no doubt, preparatory to the conferring of the earldom on Aubigne. On 4th March, accordingly, an act of the privy council was passed under which earl Robert's infeftment in the Lennox earldom was revoked, (fn. 65) and on the following day a charter under the great seal was issued in favour of Esme, lord of Aubigny, granting to him the earldom and lands of Lennox, the sheriffdom of Dunbarton, and the lands of Tarbolton, Gairstown, Dreghorn, Cruikisford, Parthekscott, Darnley, Dormonesyde, Netherton, Auld Cruikestown, Inchinan, Quhythill, Gargannoquhan (which belonged to the friars preachers of Stirling), Ballagane (called the friars lands in Dunbartonshire, which belonged to the Minorite friars of Glasgow, but had been granted by the king's predecessors to the earls of Lennox, and then belonged to the king, as heir of his grandfather, the earl Mathew), Ballencrieff, Balbardie, and the island of Eistoun and Turbane. (fn. 66)
On 4th October, 1580, Mathew Stewart of Mynto presented to the council a writing by the archbishop nominating Esme, earl of Lennox, to be provost for the following year, and the council, accepting it "glaidlie witht reuerence," ordered a commission to be prepared and sealed in favour of the earl. Stewart was at the same time created one of the council of the town, and a leet to be submitted to the archbishop from which to select the bailies was prepared. This leet having been presented to the archbishop he selected three, and on the 7th of October the town council was appointed. (fn. 67) But on the 15th of the same month the bailies so elected appeared before the privy council, and, at the request of the king, and for the favour which they bore to the earl, resigned the office of bailie to which they had been appointed, and consented to such other persons being nominated thereto as the earl thought good, without prejudice always to the election of public magistrates and officers within the city yearly thereafter, conform to its privileges and the order observed in such cases in times bypast. This resignation the king and council accepted graciously. (fn. 68) Four days later Stewart of Mynto produced to the town council an act of the privy council setting forth these resignations, and a letter from the archbishop, dated 16th October, nominating three other persons to be bailies. These writings the town council accepted, and ordered a commission to be made out in favour of the new bailies, who forthwith took the requisite oaths of office. (fn. 69) On the following day a new council, thirty in number, was appointed, with the authority and by consent of the king, fourteen of them having been of the council appointed on the 7th. (fn. 70)
The favour shown by the king to Esme, earl of Lennox, excited much envy, and the reforming party looked upon him with undisguised suspicion. He came to Scotland a papist, and it was said he was sent by the Guises to bring over the court to the old faith, but he had no difficulty in meeting this charge by changing his religion and joining the reformed church. (fn. 71) His influence with the king was regarded also by Queen Elizabeth with undisguised alarm, and she did all she could to neutralise it, but without effect. In consequence, diplomatic relations between England and Scotland were suspended for a time. Of her hostility to Lennox the earl of Morton was fully cognisant, and at all events it was considered desirable by Lennox and his friends to have Morton removed. Captain Stewart, son of lord Ochiltree, who became tutor and afterwards earl of Arran, was accordingly put forward to accuse him of being accessory to the murder of lord Darnley. This he did before the privy council on 31st December, 1580, (fn. 72) with the result that Morton was imprisoned, (fn. 73) tried on 1st June by a jury of sixteen peers, most of whom were his enemies, condemned to death, and beheaded on the following day. (fn. 74) His escheat was granted to Lennox.
At a general assembly of the church held at Dundee on 12th July, 1580, the opponents of episcopacy carried their opposition further than they had hitherto done, by condemning the system then established as unwarranted by scripture, and fitted to overthrow the true church of God. All persons holding the office of bishop were required, under pain of excommunication, to demit it, and not to use the office of pastors till admitted de novo by the assembly. To carry this resolution into effect, synodal assemblies were appointed to be held in St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Moray, to receive the submission of the bishops of these dioceses, and to report to the next assembly such as failed to make submission, with a view to their being excommunicated. (fn. 75) That act was ratified by the following assembly, held at Glasgow on 24th April, 1581, and at it the Second Book of Discipline, which, as Dr. Hill Burton observes, was "to be the completion of the polity of the church on the presbyterian system" (fn. 76) was approved of. But the state refused to accord its sanction. (fn. 77)
On 31st December, 1580, and afterwards on 5th June, 1581, the king, by charters under the great seal, granted to the earl of Lennox a number of other lands and baronies. (fn. 78) He also appointed him to be governor of Dunbarton castle, captain of the guard, and first gentleman of the bed-chamber. (fn. 79)